Hamas leaders left for Cairo on Friday in order to discuss a possible prisoner exchange deal with Israel. Egypt is backing the deal and mediating between the two sides. According to an Israeli Arabic-language website, an Israeli envoy recently met with Egyptian officials regarding the deal.

Goldin (left), Shaul (right)

Goldin (left), Shaul (right) Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and the head of the terrorist organization’s armed wing, Marwan Issa, left Gaza on Friday for Cairo in order to discuss a prisoner exchange deal with Israel that Egypt is backing, the Lebanese Al Mayadeen channel has reported.

It appears that the unannounced visit indicates that progress has been made in the talks with Israel regarding a deal that would see to the return of the bodies of two fallen Israeli soldiers. Hamas has been holding the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. According to the report, Egypt wants to work out a deal as soon as possible.  

Meanwhile, the Israeli Arabic-language site Kul al-Arab reported that Egypt is currently mediating between Hamas and Israel in an attempt to seal a prisoner exchange deal. According to the site’s sources in Gaza, an Israeli envoy recently met with Egyptian officials regarding the matter.

Two months ago, Sinwar said that Hamas is ready to hold “immediate negotiations through a mediator” in order to discuss a prisoner swap deal if Israel releases the prisoners who were rearrested after being released as part of the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. “Our commitment and our promise to all prisoners are that we will get them released through distinguished deals,” he stated.